Let's see. A couple of years ago I was walking through a field with my dog and we had a freak accident. Desmond is a very big dog. The leash, which I had left dangling, didn't let go. My leg was broken in half and my foot was displaced. I put my foot back where I thought it belonged. Ouch! For a few seconds, the world went white, like an old black and white photograph negative. Then I began to wave to people. They waved back! After what seemed an eternity, a car stopped and people came to help. The rest was relatively good news - relatively because I live in the woods about six miles from town, so it was difficult getting around for the next year - but the driver of the local Senior Citizens 'bus came through. Mr. Ron Rees. He would pick me up and take me where I wanted to go and then bring me back home. I have no idea what I would have done without him.
The people who stopped initially to help were neighbors. They belong to the Calvary Baptist Church. With great kindness, over the next few weeks, they came to visit. Not long after the accident, ten people from the church showed up unexpectedly at my cabin and stacked all my winter wood. Here they are (the Pastor is in the green shirt) and my friend, the computer wizard, Glen Comstock is on the far right. Such a gesture, small town carefulness and hospitality at it's best.
Chris and Rodney of Hood Plumbing came by right after I moved into the cabin and fixed the pump, which was not working. The pump is situated in a small bunker about fifty yards down from the cabin in the woods. You have to open it up - it has a concrete lid. One person can squeeze in there. Chris sat there all day. They then went down to the well, which is farther down by the pond. They told me it had not been cleaned out in a very long time, years in fact. It was full of roots and weeds. 524 Pond Circle, my place, is, apparently, one of the oldest camps around!
I've been living in northern New Hampshire for almost four years. When I moved into the cabin in the woods, I don't think I expected to stay for long, but I have. Right away I needed wood for the stove, and I found Rick Henson. Rick has since sold me the best wood every fall. He also introduced me to his mother, Lois. Lois taught school in Woodsville for thirty-five years and now, retired, has ten grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren! She told me once that she was populating the earth!
Last Sunday, Rick's brother, Doug (who is an independent fine finish carpenter) showed up in my driveway unexpectedly with his 1929 Model T Ford. We went for a run-out to Long Pond, not far from here. It was so much fun. Thanks, Doug. And to all the Hensons, for being such good friends to me.
"My brother called. I talked about my garden and he told me the story of Dad wanting a specific rock that was up in the Minarets in the Sierras. Larry couldn't go, he was too young, but Dad took me in a flat-bed truck. Being the first born and similar in many ways, I went with him a lot. Exploring. And he always said, Don't take the same road twice. I drive my friends crazy 'cause I always say that. They think we're lost, but I never feel that way. You never know what might be around the next corner. Like Long Pond in Benton. Here's Pete and me. And I think my Dad might be standing right beside us."
Geoff Hanson, 2016. Wanda is a friend. She lives in Lebanon NH.
I like Zach. He's good at almost everything he turns his hand to. He recently enlisted with the US Navy, but he has a tip of a finger missing from an old accident, and they turned him down. In my opinion, they missed that boat. He would have been great in the navy. But now, he's turned his attention to fighting forest fires. His grandmother Lois, says, and I concur, "he marches to the tune of a different drummer."
My Aunt Pauline died in late February at ninety-nine years old. She had been born in Mussoorie, a hill station in British India in 1916. Here she is, with her brother (my father) at home.
In those days it was usual for the children of colonial families to be sent back to England to stay there until they left boarding school. I have never been quite sure about the reasoning. The lucky ones stayed with relatives for the holidays, but many of them found themselves with complete (and paid) strangers. Pauline and Terence were left with distant cousins, Mrs. Hewitt and her four grown children. Mr. Hewitt had died. Pauline was three, Terence was nearly six. Years later, he wrote in his journal:
"As our parents left us and drove off in the pony trap, the two of us ran crying down the road until it drew away and they were gone. We would only see them again for a month or two in the summer every three years".
It was a fate to be suffered by thousands of children, including my brother and myself.
Here is my aunt with her son, my cousin A.G. on the left, and his children on the right. It was her grand daughter Rose's wedding, just a few years ago. I was there. It was a special day.
I drove to Walmart early this morning, After I parked the car I encountered a person, an employee, who was gathering shopping carts together in the lot. We struck up a conversation, and agreed, quite quickly (for some reason) that we were about the same age - and then, he said to me about his wife, 'She's so sweet, she could glaze a donut'!